Sewing and Slow Fashion

Sewing and Slow Fashion
Since the 80’s and 90’s, consumer markets have been flooded with inexpensive clothes which barely last one season of wear. Our bursting closets tell the story as often they are stuffed with bargain clothing. Low-cost tees, career blouses, thin sweaters, kid’s clothes and jeans no longer de rigueur are castoff for the latest in lower cost fashion. This quick-to-market clothing trend has been dubbed as ‘fast fashion’.

A revolt of sorts to the never-ending mass marketization of contemporary clothing has been referred to as 'slow fashion'. The term was first presented by Kate Fletcher in 2007 who offers that, “Slow fashion is not a seasonal trend that comes and goes like animal print, but a sustainable fashion movement that is gaining momentum.” Borrowing from the concepts driving the Slow Food Movement (recognizing biodiversity, awareness and environmental responsibility) and other slow movements (slow-growth cities, slow tourism) is a way of emphasizing quality over quantity and with a nod to the ideas surrounding ecologic balance.

Individual sewers making clothes and home décor of course ever strive for quality. Slow fashion advocates buying or making garments that last, redesigning old clothes – something old to something new, examining vintage clothing for time-honored techniques, shopping for fashion with a relatable cultural connection, purchasing garments with durable quality fabrics and sewn with care made by workers equitably paid and humanely treated.

It is most likely safe to say that understanding the economic necessity for continuing the useful and valuable skill of sewing and applying those skills to slow fashion really embraces a sewing philosophy – sustainable sewing - that is mindful of and practical for our planet.

To create something, almost anything, out of fabric is as emotionally gratifying as putting artist’s brush to canvas, clay to potter’s wheel, pen to paper, verse to music, camera to photograph, or coaxing seed to flower. Embracing the idea of slow fashion, a term not particularly new, does evoke a different way of thinking about sewing, textiles, global clothing manufacturing, environmental toxins and waste, fair trade processes and how to live more sustainably and mindfully in our hectic, complicated times.

Sew happy, sew ethical, sew inspired.

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